Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lean is Nothing More than TIME Management


If you Google "time management" (in quotes), you will spend the rest of the day sifting through 41,900,000 results. according to Wikipedia, time management is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.

One of the biggest influences in my lean thinking has been Mr. Orie Fiume, former finance director at Wiremold here in Connecticut.  (his book, "Real Numbers", which outlines the role of the accounting function in a lean business, is a must read). I usually "get" and "keep permanently" one key point when I'm reading or listening to others.  When I heard Orie speak, he said "lean is time management, doing every process in your company faster". He didn't say manufacturing process, or car building process, he said EVERY process. That was the instant I realized I had to teach time saving tools to see waste (lean) to our customer service and research and development people. 

Could we eliminate nearly all waiting when customers want to place an order (give us their money)? Can we avoid inventory (voice mail)? We decided we never wanted a customer to go into purgatory (I mean voice mail). In previous posts, I explained how we figured that out. 

How about Product Development? How important would it be to be faster to market with new, innovative concepts that other people can't do? Remember the 90% rule! 90% of all of our processes are full of one or more of the 8 wastes that are sometimes only visible when you are at GEMBA (where the work is done), and by using tools to see it (the lean tools, of course!)

Buying stuff, invoicing, technical service (ever been to the motor vehicle department?), selling stuff, etc. are all riddled with some species of the 8 wastes. This was echoed by Robert Hawkins,  Founder and President of Lean Performance International, who wrote me,  "unforgivable risk is that of producing a poorly designed, low quality, expensive, or already obsolete, product with very efficient, Lean, automated processes." Very well said, my friend

Circle your calender! P4 Lean Strategy will be offering a hands-on, 1 day workshop in beautiful Connecticut called "Coaching Lean". This coming Fall on Thursday, October 10. I promise you will need a nap afterward.

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